Reston, Va. - April 10, 2018 - The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) views the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics scores as disappointingly stable. The stable scores in math may partially be attributed to continued alignment issues between the current standards and the NAEP framework.
In 2017, students had an average score in mathematics of 240 points at grade 4 and 283 points at grade 8 on a 500-point scale. There was no significant change in the average score for math at either grade when compared to 2015 scores.
“Looking more closely at the results indicates that instructional changes and professional learning support are paying off in some districts. However, more professional support is needed for teachers in order to see more broad-based benefits nationwide,” said NCTM President Matt Larson.
Of particular concern to NCTM is the decrease in performance seen in the 10th and 25th percentiles in both grades 4 and 8, compared to slight increases in performance at the 75th and 90th percentiles.
“We need to ensure that we are providing each and every student with access to high-quality mathematics curriculum, instruction, and expectations,” Larson said. “Students need to see themselves as capable learners of mathematics. Ensuring a positive learning experience and providing research-informed and equity-based instructional strategies to all students is of paramount concern to those who advocate for more effective mathematics learning outcomes,” Larson continued. NCTM will address these issues and how we can support progress in an upcoming publication called Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics: Initiating Critical Conversations.
Forty percent of fourth-grade students performed at or above proficient in 2017, which is the same as 2015. In grade 8, 34 percent were at or above proficient, which is no significant change from 2015. Since 1990, NAEP math scores have risen steadily. Scores for grade 4 were 27 points higher in 2017 than in 1990, and they were 20 points higher in 2017 than in 1990 for grade 8.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is the public voice of mathematics education, supporting teachers to ensure equitable mathematics learning of the highest quality for each and every student through vision, leadership, professional development and research. With 60,000 members and more than 230 Affiliates, it is the world's largest organization dedicated to improving mathematics education in prekindergarten through grade 12. NCTM is dedicated to ongoing dialogue and constructive discussion with all stakeholders about what is best for students and envisions a world where everyone is enthused about mathematics, sees the value and beauty of mathematics, and is empowered by the opportunities mathematics affords.
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